Created: 1/1/1973

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Intelligence Report

The Military Food Ration in tbe USSR



Copy no 7







A Sources of the Estimites

B. Statistical Tables II


USSR: Basic Per Capita Military Food Ration. Selected4

USSR: Total and Per Capita Cosls oi Military Food

USSR: Basic Per Capita Military Food

USSR: Current Prices Paid for Components

Of Military Ration

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence3



The per capita cost of the military food ration in the USSR in current prices increasedubles0ubles' The reasons for the rise in cost include larger rations of some foods such as meat and sugar, improved quality within product groups, and higher procurement prices. During the, largely because of extensive reductions of food prices, the cost per man dropped,owubles4 the per capita cost of the military ration has more than doubled. Nevertheless, in current prices, total military expenditures for food fell by0

The value of the military ration inriccs increasedubles0ubles% decline in


ecause of some small cutbacks in the ration, per capita cost grews the result of improvements in quantity and quality. Because much of thc increase in the per capita cost has been offset by the reduction in military manpower, total military expenditures for food (measured in0 prices) increased0ess than one-third thc percentage increase in total military expenditures in constant prices.onsequence, expenditures for food have decreasedhare of total military expenditures0 prices) from about0 to



Each December the USSRingle ruble value as the budget allocation for defense in the coming year. The announced defense budget is not acceptedeliable indicator either of the amount of total Soviet spending for military-related activities or of changes in the level of effort from year toherefore, estimates of defense spending are made using the "building block"hat is, costs are applied to all aspects of the Soviet defense effort and are summed to provide an estimate of total outlays.

Estimates of outlays for food have been calculated on the basis of rather fragile evidence. Thc cost of0 food rationairly firm basis, but this ration was carried forward with little change. Since the food ration was firstumber of new pieces of evidence on the content and cost of ihe ration have appeared. This report incorporates all available evidence and estimates the size and cost of the military food ration. (Sources are discussed in


he announced defense budget exclude* almost all outlay* fo. tcseaich and development and miliiaty space activnte, and may altoIn pari ot in total,1 aid to foreign countries and itockptllne of miliary equipment.

J. In calculating the ration, no allowance ii made foi lea. coffee, wit, androducts that reportedly are and have been arable in geneioui amounts but thai do not add nutritionally io ihe ration. These products accounted% lof ihe ration com

basic military food ration (also called the "soldier'sit applies to all thc military forces) includes meat, fish, fats,other grain products, sugar, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs,salt, andhis ration is standard for all forceswithin the country during peacetime, although special allotments are

made for various groups of personnel. For example, certain classes of officers receive additional rations of "luxury foods" such as chocolate and additional butter. Other officers do not receive food allotments but are authorized monetary compensation according to specific regulations. In addition, there are special rations for students at military institutes, for pilots, for submariners, and for personnel in hospitals, as well as field and emergency rations. The absence of precise information on the composition of these special rationsomplete accounting of military food consumption. Consequently, the estimate in this report assumes that all personnel consume the same-basic ralion. The resulting error is at least partly offset by the fact that some officers do not receive any food ration. In all cases, the ration quantities are norms and thus represent planned consumpiion quantities. Information on per capita calorics consumed by the military population, however, indicates that actual consumption does reflect the norms.

The basic military food ration has changed considerablyuantities of meat and sugar have been increased, and butter, eggs, fruit, and milk have been added to the ration. The variety and quality of foods such as bread and meat have improved. Finally, thc overall quantity of food as measured by the number of calories in the ration has increased. The composilion of the basic ration is shown in Tablemprovement in the ration has notradual and continuous process; rather it has occurred at irregular and infrequent intervals, The ration changed little0ut substantial improvement took placehe ralion Ihcn remained fairly constant8owever, Ihe pace of improvement has picked up.s

As would be expected from thc age and sex of its membership, the military population consumes more calories per day per capita than the populationhole*:

0 0

Quantities for each yenn: given innfw <oui<ri of the (monies are given in (he too mows lo that table.

In my aenctaJ trims,attont for the armed force! conciponded to impiovcmenb in (lie economy. Tout food supplies in the USSR were expanding raptdly in the, perhaps leading toB revision in Ihe mililary ralion.

The tout population includes everyone fromlderly people, ahercai thc null my population Itrelatively select croup with hither-than-averagc calotte tcojubtments.

calories (etckiding Ihow from fruit) rounded to ihe nearestalorics.

included in the ration.

enough, the quantities ot four, bread, macaroni, and potatoes tn the -itIonhave remained conitanl ora tbe entire period (seennd. II might be argued that the rations of starchy foodi could hare been reduced asand dairy product, were included. Actually, quantities of starchy foods hsx had toconstant to achieve reported total daily caloriesen any event,In the quantities of starchy foods would have rebltvcly Utile impact on per capitaoaample, if consumption of starchy foods bad beenherebycalories lo slightlysubstantially belowfflclalyostbeen reduced byubles, or leuf the derived eosl.

USSR: Basic Per Capita Military Food Ration Selected Years

per Day'

per Year

per Year



The armed forcesrivileged group with respect to the quality of their diet. Evenong period of improvement in thc civilian diet, the military forces consumed substantially more per capita of several qualityeat, fish, eggs, fats, and vegetables -than did thc populationhole. Thc general population, however, did fare better than the military forces in the consumption of sugar, milk, and fruit. In addition, the populationgain partly because of its age and sexmaller share of its daily calories in the form of starchyotatoes and grain products:, compared withor the military population.


Total ration costs have been estimated on the weighted basis of average prices paid by the military for each food in each year and reflect thc average quality of that year. (Prices for each type or grade of food are weighted by thc share of each type and/or quality of foodain foodhe military forces purchase most of their foods at Zone II (Moscow region) retail prices less the retail trade markupentrally determined percentage of total retail cost, which is planned to cover marketing costs) but including excise taxes (so-called "turnoverew foods such as vegetables, fruits, potatoes, and milk are purchased at "decentralized procurementhat are locallyn addition, military units stationed in remote areas such as the Far East Military District are required lo pay prices higher than Zone II prices (primarily to cover thc differential transportation cost).

The cost of thc ration in current prices'1 paid by the military increasedubles per capita0ubles1rowthut the trend was not uniform during the entire period (seeecause of numerous substantial price reductions on various foods during the, thc cost per man declined,owubles4 the cost per man has risen in almost every year.1 thc per capita cost was more than twice4 level.

paid byilary foi

vttch foodtyeniln

Appendix B. Tho source* for the estimates are given In ihe footnotes to Ihtl table.

Spttvochiuk -oyakogo KhoiyayatveAAlKi. Moscow, IMS,. In the USSR, food prices, when rfirterentiaicd, are usually divided Into three aones. Zone II prices apply primarily to the central regtoiii ot the USSR and are those icgularly obsrned in Meson* by US Embassy officer*.

Procurement prices are the prlcct paid by thc slate to farmt for agricultural products.

PiUsapk* oi Soviet Military Leptlatkm...

Changes measured in current prices reflect price, quality, and quantity changes.



Table 2

USSR: TouJ and Per Capita Costs of Military Food

(Million Rubles)



0 Prices










Current Prices

0 Prices



Armed Forces (Million Persons)


Changes meisuicd in constant prices reflect changes In quah'ty and quantity only; the crtecf of price changes it eliminated1.

The percentage rise in the cost of the ration in001.ubles per capitahe cost droppedowabies3 because quantities of groats and macaroni in the ration were reduced in the.31 the per capita cost increasedubles as the quantities of some foods were increased, the quality of several foods improved, and new foods were included in the ration. Again the upward trend was not continuous; there were marked increases in some years, suchubles per man)ubles pernd no change in other years, such. The annual rate of improvement has been more rapid in recent years,% per year4 compared% per year.

Total military expenditures on food have fluctuated markedly1 they were below0 level in current prices andbove that level in constant prices. The trend was strongly downward1esult of large declines in the size of the armed forces,igh5 mUlion24 million1 the size of Ihe armed forces has grown. This, in conjunction with growth in the cost of food rations per capita, has steadily raised the total

miliiary food bill. Nevertheless, expenditures for food have decreasedhare of total military expenditures.13


lthough the derived estimates use all available information, some gaps remain:

(I) Data on total quantities of food included in the military ration arc lacking for some years, and accounting for supplemental rations has not beenomplete basic ration, publishedrovided an excellent starting point, butull description has not been published since. It has been necessary, therefore, to estimate the ration in full for some years and in part for other years on the basis of information about additions to the ration or quantity or quality changes that appears occasionally in military journals, newspapers, and textbooks. Defector reports have also helped to establish that rations for certain foods such as bread, vegetables, and potatoes (usually not mentioned in the general press) have not changed duringyear period and that general references to "increases in the ration" for foods such as meat are based onomparison of calories per day provided by the basic ration with announced average calories consumed by the military forces suggests that the derived ration is reasonably close to actual average military consumption. It also suggests that error arising from failure to include supplemental per capita rations is not targe.


Quality changes have had to be estimated for the most part on thc basis of quite generalor example, "in thc past few yean the quality and assortment of meat products hasnly rarely have do finite statements appeared, such as "the meat ration nowS% of meat of the first category (quality)."

The costs per item arc probably more reliable than the ralion quantities themselves. Thc military forces purchase foods, with only minor exceptions, at Zone II retail prices less the trade markup or at procurement price levels. Costs of those foods purchased at retail arc based on observed Moscow prices

in eacheasonably reliable annual series of trade markups for each food category, as well as procurement price

series for each locally purchased food, was constructed from

information in publications dealing with agriculture, pricing,

and retail trade.

Despite the gaps in information and the need to rely on imprecise evidence on quality change, thc final estimates of quantity, quality, and average cost of thc per capita basic ration seem reasonably accurate. They are clearly an improvement over existing estimates of the military ration, which rely almost exclusively on9 ration, unadjusted for quality change within product groups.




The basic military food ration used0 is fromranslation6ranslation of Tsirkulyar glavnogo intendenta vooruzhennykh sil SSSR (Circular, Quartermaster General. Armed Forceshanges in the ration come from

various military journals such as Sovctskiy voin andnabzheniye;

books such as Voyennaya gigiyena,pravochnik voyskogo khozyaystvennika,nd Spravochnik olitscra,he chief military newspaper, Krasnayaew non-military journals such as Zakupki selskokhozyaystvennykh produktov and Sovetskaya torgovlyaew bits of data. Corroboration of official data came from numerous defector and refugee reports. For example, an army cook who defected2 reported that bread and potato rations (in grams per day) were the same as those In9 report.

The cost of the basic ration is the sum of the prices paid by the military for each food group in the ration. For mosteat. fish, fats, flour, groats, sugar, andhe military pays Zoneetail prices less the retail trade markup (the allowance for marketing costs) but including excise taxes.istribution of the Soviet military force by price zone is not readily available, Zone II retail prices were also used for bread and macaroni, which are purchased at local retail prices less the retail trade markup. To some extent. Zone II prices for bread and macaroni arc an average of lower prices innd higher prices inusually the producing and far removed areas,he remaining foods -potatoes, vegetables, fruit, andrc purchased at decentralized procurement prices (prices paid by the state toecause Moscow is in Zone II, the regular food price observations by us Embassy officers stationed in Moscow provide the basis for developing the retail price scries. Various Soviet sources such as Spravochnik voyskogo khozyaystvennika.nabzheniye; Krasnaya zvezda; and several of the other sources mentioned above provided useful data on the assortment within various food groups such as meat and bread. Local procurement prices as well as the retail trade markup for various foods are from Soviet sources such.SSR.. Lasevich, Torgovyye skidki naromyshlcnnyye tovary.. Timoshcvskiy,orgovyye skidki.



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